A transparently honest, challenging, eclectic liberal thinker and one of the most renowned fighters of colonial India, Dr. B R Ambedkar has marked his presence in the minds of many. His role in the struggle for a modern, democratic, and socially just India significantly improved at the expense of various other outstanding national figures who were contemporaries and opponents during the great battles of the freedom movement era. This is basically on the grounds that the profound situations and focal issues spotlighted by his life, struggles, studies, and experimentation in ideas remaining alive and kicking while the profound questions he raised about Indian society stay unanswered.
Ambedkar ideologies are not on one single idea of change or upheaval yet a progression of ideas that have a forward-moving quality and orchestrate a just state culture. Beginning from the foul play towards the Dalits to the Hindu social order to the overall caste framework in India, this journey of realizing the social shades of malice was a result of his encounters and were molded in the formative years of his life itself.
Ambedkar’s argument towards Hindu philosophy was that human rights did not find any place in the social order and the social order was based primarily on class or varna (Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Shudras) and not on individuals. There is no room for individual merit and no consideration of justice. If the individual has a privilege it is not because of him personally. The privilege goes with the class and if he is found to enjoy it, it is because he belongs to that class. Otherwise, if an individual is suffering from a wrong, it is not because of his conduct. The disability is the disability imposed upon the class and if he is found to be laboring under it, it is because he belongs to that class. The central idea was to serve the class of supermen called the Brahmins. Anything that caters to their needs or serves their interest is entitled to be good or the right. This sort of mindset is prevalent in today’s society as well where everything is done to feed the rich, to please them. The world is constantly moving towards advancements yet no developments concerning the poor. The slums have had an ever-increasing number with no one to truly look upon their requirements.
The system of graded inequality was also something highlighted by Ambedkar. The principle of such gradation had a spiritual, moral, and legal sanction and thus no sphere of life was not regulated by this principle. This was accompanied by hierarchical and graded entitlements where rights and privileges of one class became disabilities or denial of rights to the lower class, particularly for untouchables. Individuals had no choice to change their occupation and punishments were given for violating the principle of occupation.
Denial of equal access to education is another core feature of the caste system. In Ambedkar’s view, the concept of formal education in the Hindu social order was quite narrow. Formal education was confined to the study of religious scriptures like Veda in schools. In the absence of a formal educational system, each class managed to transmit its progeny the ways of doing things it was traditionally engaged in doing. Thus, illiteracy became an inherent part of the class or caste system. Fixation of rights within a class and graded inequality resulted in the denial of rights to education and opportunities to develop human capabilities.
While acknowledging the fact that all human beings might not be equal concerning physical strength, in material wealth, or mental capacity, but still human beings possessed kind fundamental characteristics that were common to humanity. Emphasis must be placed on the term ‘moral’ because no rational component of moral equality was ever disputed. This has been the situation in the current society also wherein much consideration is given to materialistic gains than the real quality or gauge of the individual. Although circumstances are at a way better stage, yet these issues can be found in certain parts in new forms and versions. The clas and caste system hasn’t vanished but now hides under new hosts. These should necessarily be addressed. Ambedkar’s ideologies which were set up many years back still find relevance in this day and age and structure a piece of the procedure of the world advancing towards a progressive and inclusive place to live in.
Contributed by Salini content writer at Mitti Ke Rang
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